Alex Ovechkin's widespread impact will be recognized this winter.
The Washington Capitals superstar will be honored as the recipient of the Wayne Gretzky International Award as part of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Dec. 12, the institution announced Wednesday.
Established in 1999, the award pays tribute to international individuals who have made major contributions to the growth and advancement of hockey in the United States.
"His performance on the ice and efforts off the ice have certainly translated into more kids and families wanting to be involved in our sport," USA Hockey executive director Pat Kelleher said of Ovechkin. "He’s been a great ambassador for hockey and embodies what the Gretzky Award represents."
Previous recipients of the honor include Herb Brooks (2004), Scotty Bowman (2002), the Howe family (2000), and Gretzky himself in 1999.
Gary Bettman, Brian Gionta, Neal Henderson, Tim Thomas, and Krissy Wendell will be inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame as the Class of 2019.